Daniel Farber Huang (MN ’13) worked in Chios, Greece documenting the global refugee crisis in January, 2017. According to the United Nations, the global refugee crisis is considered the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time. Over 65 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015. That's a staggering 1 out of every 113 people globally -- 24 people were forced to flee their homes every minute.
Huang documented the work of Non-Governmental Organizations and other rescue groups providing both immediate and longer-term relief to refugees detained on Chios Island in the Souda and Vial refugee camps. Chios Island is one of the hotspots for boat landings in Greece, being situated closest to the shores of Turkey. Typically arriving by dangerously (and often fatal) overcrowded boats, the refugees bring minimal personal belongings -- often only the clothes they are wearing. Hundreds of men, women and children continue to land on Chios’ shores each week and are typically detained on the island for the duration of their asylum processing, which may take several months or now years. The Souda refugee camp is estimated to hold between 800 to 1,200 refugees. Refugees are living in communal buildings, basic plastic structures or cloth tents. Greece’s winter is similar to the East Coast of the US, with freezing temperatures and biting wind blowing constantly from the Aegean Sea.
According to Huang, “Nobody wants to be a refugee. The sheer numbers and sterile statistics about the global refugee crisis allows us to either forget or overlook that these statistics are human beings – men, women, children, families, unaccompanied minors – who are seeking safety, often from the immediate threat of death. Through my photography, I want to put a face, a story, a family to the statistics and press those with resources (whether governments, policy makers or individuals such as you and me) to take ownership and responsibility to do our part in alleviating this crisis. By raising awareness I hope to spur change in policy at all levels. Although it may not be our individual fault that this humanitarian crisis has been occurring for years, our basic humanity would drive that it is our responsibility to address and resolve it in whatever way we can affect change.” You can see more of Huang’s photographs on the crisis at www.HuangMenders.com.
Photo credit: Daniel Farber Huang